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Haggai: Chapter 1

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1In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest: 2Thus says the LORD of hosts: These people say the time has not yet come to rebuild the LORD's house. 3Then the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai, saying: 4Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? 5Now therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider how you have fared. 6You have sown much, and harvested little; you eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and you that earn wages earn wages to put them into a bag with holes.

7Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider how you have fared. 8Go up to the hills and bring wood and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored, says the LORD. 9You have looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? says the LORD of hosts. Because my house lies in ruins, while all of you hurry off to your own houses. 10Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. 11And I have called for a drought on the land and the hills, on the grain, the new wine, the oil, on what the soil produces, on human beings and animals, and on all their labors.

12Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of the prophet Haggai, as the LORD their God had sent him; and the people feared the LORD. 13Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke to the people with the LORD's message, saying, I am with you, says the LORD. 14And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, 15on the twenty‐fourth day of the month, in the sixth month.

Text Commentary view alone

1.1–11 : An oracle of judgment: While the Temple is in ruins, the people are cursed.

1 :

Darius was king of the Persian Empire from 522 to 486 BCE. In the second year, sixth month, first day, August 29, 520 BCE. The first day of the month was ordinarily a time of special religious observance; thus, a date when the dismal state of the Temple was even more apparent. Haggai means “(born on) the festival”; Zerubbabel (1 Chr 3.19; Ezra 2.2; 3.2,8; 5.2; Neh 12.1; Zech 4.6–10; Sir 49.11 ), the grandson of Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24.8–17; 1 Chr 3.16–19 ), was a descendant of David. Son of Shealtiel, cf. Ezra 3.2; contrast 1 Chr 3.19. Joshua, Zech 3.1–10; 6.11 (= Jeshua in Ezra 2–5; Sir 49.12 ). For this model of community leadership shared by a Davidic descendant and a high priest, see Zech 4.3n.

4 :

The Temple had been plundered and burned in 586 (2 Kings 25.8–17 ). Paneled probably refers to “roofed” or completed houses, in contrast to the state of the Temple.

5–6 :

The poor conditions in Judah were evidence of the people's disobedience to the covenant (Lev 26 ), and are presented here in the form of futility curses (cf. Deut 28.30–41 ).

9–11 :

These verses are built around a Heb pun; as long as the Temple is in ruins, “ḥareb,” the people will suffer drought, “ḥoreb.”

11 :

Contrast Hos 2.10 .

1.12–15a : A favorable response: The people get to work.

12 :

The remnant probably refers to those who had recently returned from Babylon (Jer 43.5 ).

13 :

For the prophet as a messenger, see Mal 1.1; 3.1; 2 Chr 36.15–16 .

15 :

September 21, 520 BCE.

1.15b–2.9 : An oracle of encouragement: The new Temple will be more splendid than the old.

1.15b–2.1 :

October 17, 520 BCE. This date, the twenty‐first day of the seventh month, would place this oracle during the festival of booths (Lev 23.33–36,39–42 ), which would make the reference to the Exodus ( 2.5 ) all the more appropriate.

2.3 :

A few of the people present may have seen Solomon's Temple before its destruction.

4–6 :

By using the style of war oracles (take courage; I am with you; do not fear; cf. Deut 31.7; Josh 1.9 ), the prophet rhetorically casts the building drive as nothing short of heroic.

4 :

Take couragework, in 1 Chr 28.10,20 , David delivers a similar exhortation to Solomon, builder of the first Temple. People of the land, Haggai here may be addressing people who had not gone into exile and who resisted the efforts of the returning exiles (Ezra 4.1–5; Neh 4.7–8 ).

7 :

Isa 60.5–16; 61.5–6 .

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